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Oral history interview with Stefania Hecht

Oral History | Accession Number: 2017.205.1 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0934

Stefania Hecht (née Kohn) was born on 15 February 1928 in Șomcuta Mare, Romania to Naftali (Anton) and Perl Rivka Kohn. The Kohns had four other children, including Rachel, Iosif (1925-1945), Eugen (1932-1944), and Leah (or Leonida, 1932-1944). When Stefania was five years old, her mother died, and a few years later, her eldest sister, Rachel, died of a lung disease. Her father died in 1938, after suffering a stroke while he was trying to fight a fire in a neighbor's home. She discusses living in a house with no running water and a covered outhouse; her mother’s aunt helping the family with shopping and cooking, and a live-in maid who helped with washing and cleaning; her father being the Gabai (directed religious services) of their local synagogue and owning a store that sold agricultural equipment; her cousin Moishe helping the family for two years after her father died; getting sent at age 12 to live with her father’s Aunt Esther to attend school; speaking Hungarian at home, learning Yiddish from her aunt, and learning Romanian at school; being forced to return to Șomcuta Mare after the German occupation of Hungary in 1944; her brother getting taken away by the Germans; getting deported with her great aunt and twin siblings to Auschwitz in May 1944; reuniting with her cousin Olga, who was pregnant, in Auschwitz; her cousin giving birth in camp and presumably getting murdered along with her baby afterwards; developing an ear infection; getting sent to a factory in Hohenelbe (now Hořejši Vrchlabi) where she worked 12 hours a day; doctors treating her ear infection; getting liberated by the Russians; returning to Șomcuta Mare; reuniting with her youngest cousin and living with him, his wife, and caring for their son; taking a job at an orphanage in a nearby town in 1949; making plans to immigrate to Israel; meeting fellow Holocaust survivor Zoltan Hecht and marrying in 1949; remaining in Romania and not being permitted to emigrate because of Zolan’s job; having three children; immigrating to Israel in 1964 where they managed a crystal factory; and later immigrating to the United States.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Stefania Hecht
Ina Navazelskis
interview:  2017 May 07
creation: Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Oral histories.
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 08:05:39
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